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Selfless / Merciless
Selfless / Merciless
Genres: Alternative Rock, Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #2


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CD Details

All Artists: Godflesh
Title: Selfless / Merciless
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Earache Records
Original Release Date: 9/4/1996
Re-Release Date: 9/10/1996
Genres: Alternative Rock, Rock, Metal
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, Goth & Industrial, Alternative Metal, Death Metal
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 745316008523

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CD Reviews

The Very Definition of "Grower"
Jesse Melat | Cleveland | 08/20/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"There are those that accuse _Selfless_ of being repetitive, sound-samey from track to track, and just...plain dumb. With the exception of the latter, I admit that it is all of these things. I bought Selfless/Merciless at my local Record Exchange for eight bucks, having heard that it was an artistic slip-up of Broadrick's in which he went overboard on minimalist riffing, and after the first few listens, I was fully ready to agree, and glad I had "only wasted eight bucks on this damn thing." Now, I would have easily paid twice or even three times as much for it. _Selfless_ is a study in aural brutality, as all Godflesh is, and is a way more brutal than anything else they have released. The relentless pounding of the guitar and sludge-bass, Broadrick's monstrously tragic, Grendel-esque vocals, and the sparse, lonely electronic effects paint a soundscape that is primitive, isolated and profoundly pulling once you stop thinking about how the refusal of the band to diversify the patterns of their music; the genius of Godflesh on this release lies almost solely in the sounds themselves, the perfectly tweaked noises of the synths, the texture of guitar's distortion, etc. However, all this praise is not to suggest that this is a faultless release. _Pure_ or _Streetcleaner_ this is definitely not. There are tracks that admittedly don't do much, like "Heartless" or "Toll", and the disc does _suffer_ from the lack of instrumental variation, just as much as it derives its power from it. These flaws are excusable, and wouldn't have caused the disc to lose a star, if they were not coupled with one of Godflesh's oldest and most constant weaknesses: lyrical stupidity. Though they're easy to ignore most of the time, they are still present, and still dumb. "Go Spread Your Wings", the 20 minute noise collage that ends the album, is the track most marred by its lyrics: "Can't escape! Can't....ESCAPE! Go spread! YOUR WINGS!" Melodramatic, cheesy, pretentious, cliche. Instrumentally, the vocals are mixed well, as with most of Broadrick's work, but the content! It always stuns me that Justin can be so talented musically and yet so frightfully awkward poetically. As for _Merciless_, a combination of Pure's EP and the Crush My Soul single, I award it the same rating as _Selfless_: 4 stars. It sees a lot more variation, more samples, a techno beat here and there. Especially in "Unworthy" and "Flowers", we see a more "industrial" Godflesh, and on the whole it seems as if they were improving upon the sound of _Slavestate_(admittedly _not_ their best material) This disc too, however, has its faults. The lyrical dumbness mentioned above is still present ("SHOW! NO MERCY!") and one of the re-mixes of _Selfless_ cuts that are included (specifically, Crush My Soul) is, though not totaly without a certain degree of listenable merit, overly-repetitive and boring. It's decent hard drum'n'bass, tasteful, but simply cannot stand to clock in at nearly 15 minutes. The re-mix of "Xnoybis", conversely, is one of the better tracks on _Merciless_, showing a more ambient side of Godflesh, and is not unlike some of the stuff that Tribes of Neurot would release later on. All in all, this is very cost-effective purchase, I think, and though definitely not the first Godflesh release you should buy, it's an extremely worthwhile addition to one already a bit familiar with Godflesh and willing to spend some time getting used to its minimalist brilliance."
Stopheles | Ridgewood, NY United States | 06/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"SELFLESS is a great album which unfortunately gets slagged by a lot of Godflesh's fans, for a few reasons: it's the major label debut, came after the flawless PURE, and is in some ways a less overtly aggressive record than most of his/their work.

BUT: Broadrick's guitar sound finally fleshes out on SELFLESS, and tracks such as "Xynobis" and "Body Dome Light" play up the psychedelia hinted at on the first (self-titled) LP, as well as old tracks like "Dead Head"...and when he DOES go aggro on SELFLESS, Justin throws down a gauntlet with "Bigot," "Toll" or "Anything is Mine" to masterfully walk the fine line between total crushing noise and structured beauty (see "Slateman" on SLAVESTATE to see the type I'm talking about).

Look, everybody who is a fan of Godflesh lives and dies by STREETCLEANER, and with good reason. But this record, where Godflesh actually flesh out their sound, getting both more beautiful and more pummeling, is worth the time and money.

And "Go Spread Your WIngs" is interesting from start to of the most uncomfortably tense songs I've heard, all 23 minutes of it.

Anybody who lives for The Riff needs to catch up with Godflesh."
skulliest | Edmonton, Alberta Canada | 08/31/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I wish I had been able to pick this double CD up. Rather, I was only able to find Selfless alone. I remember picking up this CD and upon getting it home, slapping it in my CD player and cranking it up, 'Xynobis' came blasting out of my speakers. At this point, the crushing bass rattled over half of the items on my walls so badly that they crashed to the floor. This is pretty typical of this disc. Crushing bass, crushing drums, and crushing guitar. It's a brutal experience. Godflesh continues track after track on this disc to crank out machine-like, repetitive guitar riffs to the point where a lot of people might get bored with it. But, a lot of people might not realize that listening to Godflesh is more than just music you give a casual listen to; you've got to give it your undivided attention because that's what it demands. Songs like 'Crush My Soul' and 'Anything Is Mine' break up the monotonous minimalism with some groove oriented tracks. 'Empyreal' is a slow grinder with a layer of eroticism. Songs like 'Black Boned Angel', 'Body Dome Light' and 'Toll' feature some heavy bass, and interesting guitar riffs. And if you can make it from front to back of all 23 minutes of 'Go Spread Your Wings'... congratulations, you can actually call yourself a Godflesh fan."